Weekly ag briefs: First quarter scrutinized under NCBA plan, questions of Biden's 30-by-30 plan and more

Compiled by Candace Krebs
Horses graze

First quarter scrutinized under NCBA plan

In the first quarter of 2021, the cattle market failed at times to meet the minimums for negotiated trade established under a new monitoring plan adopted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association last year. Called the 75 percent plan, it is a voluntary regional approach that calls on each marketing region to achieve at least 75 percent of the weekly negotiated trade volume deemed necessary for robust price discovery. According to the analysis, negotiated trade volumes failed to meet the required minimums 4 out of 13 weeks in TX-OK-NM, 2 out of 13 weeks in the Nebraska-Colorado region, and 6 out of 13 weeks in Kansas. The Iowa-Minnesota regional market showed sufficient cash trade. Still, negotiated trade was reportedly 1.4 times higher than the previous five-year average in the Southern Plains. In addition, the market was only a few hundred head short of the minimum on several occasions. According to NCBA’s adopted framework, hitting enough triggers during the remaining quarters will set the organization up to pursue a legislative or regulatory solution, as determined by the membership.

Oklahoma City nabs 2022 national breed shows

The Cattlemen’s Congress in Oklahoma City has announced the dates for the 2022 return of the show, which was held for the first time in early 2021. The event will run January 1 through 16 at the Oklahoma Fairgrounds with new programming added. According to the board, the Oklahoma National Stockyards will join as a partner in providing additional commercial sale opportunities. Multiple breed associations have announced they will hold their 2022 national shows and sales in conjunction with the Oklahoma City show, including the American Angus Association, Red Angus Association of America, the American Hereford Association, the American Maine Anjou Association and the American Shorthorn Association. Previously, many of the leading breeds staged their national activities in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The 2022 NWSS is currently set for January 8-23.

More:Weekly ag briefs: Lower Ark Valley Basin tour announced, new Colorado state vet announced and more

Water Symposium offered virtually

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Ag Water Alliance is hosting a virtual agricultural water symposium on May 25 at 11 a.m. The two-hour program will cover the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, commonly referred to as EQIP, and how to navigate water rights records for information. To register, contact Phil Brink at Phil@brinkinc.biz or Erin Karney at Erin@coloradocattle.org.

Legislation on organic standards introduced

Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind and a group of bipartisan House members last week introduced the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act. The legislation seeks to improve the federal process for the oversight of organic food standards. Kind, co-chair of the bipartisan House Organic Caucus, stated, “This legislation will take necessary steps to ensure our organic farmers can continue to succeed and innovate for generations to come.” The Wisconsin Democrat says the bill will establish a new framework for advancing organic standards and improve oversight and enforcement of new rules and guidance. According to Illinois Republican Representative Rodney Davis, the other co-chair of the caucus, the bipartisan legislation would “clear the backlog of rule recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.”

Group questions president’s 30-by-30 plan

President Biden’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030, commonly referred to as “30-by-30,” is raising questions. American Farm Bureau wants to know if America’s agriculturalists will be recognized for the good work they’ve already done. Farmers have voluntarily enrolled more than 140 million acres of private land into federal and non-federal conservation programs – a land mass larger than the size of New York and California combined, the group says. Any discussion about conservation must begin with the recognition that farmers and ranchers are leaders in conservation and have been for decades, AFBF says. More than 800 million acres of additional land is being conserved under state and federal ownership. Multiple-use federal lands, as well as actively managed and working lands, should be recognized for their conservation and open space benefits, AFBF notes, saying it wants greater clarity on the president’s plan.

Buy American provision lauded

The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives is applauding a proposal by President Joe Biden to include “Buy American” provisions in his administration’s infrastructure package. NCFC has long called for stricter enforcement of “Buy American” provisions in programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture such as the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Shortly after coming into office, President Biden signed an executive order seeking to close loopholes in how domestic content is measured, to create a new position at the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the issue, and to increase oversight of waivers to domestic preference laws. “The president has spoken forcefully about the need to ensure that American tax dollars are used to buy products made or grown in America to create American jobs and America’s farmer co-ops strongly support him in this effort,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “At the same time, it remains vital that Buy American provisions are enforced throughout the federal government; we heard similar claims of support during the previous administration with minimal follow-through or impact.”

More:Weekly ag briefs: CattleCon offering scholarships, irrigators facing cuts and the Animal Ag Alliance summit

AFS still circulating in China

African swine fever remains a huge problem in China and will never be totally eliminated, according to a professional swine consultant based in the country. Michael Ellermann, with Danish company Aspire Agritech Consulting, said at an industry conference that most current ASF cases are caused by a vaccine-originating strain of the virus rather than a wild strain. In 2019, producers tried to produce their own vaccines, but all failed and were later abandoned. An effective vaccine is still needed before the industry can get back to normal, he added. Pig prices are now so high in China that producers can make a profit weaning just two pigs a litter, he said.

Testimony recounts California wildfire

To emphasize the necessity for properly managing national parks and forests, fifth-generation California cattle producer Dave Daley testified before a U.S. House Subcommittee about his experience with the 2020 Bear Fire in Butte County, California. Daley serves as chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands Committee and Chair of the Public Lands Council Ecosystem and Environment Committee. Drawing on his personal experiences and knowledge handed down through multiple generations, Daley spoke about the need to control the risk of wildfire through active land management practices like reseeding and prescribed burns. In the Bear Fire last year, Daley lost approximately 80 percent of his cattle herd. Most animals were killed in the fire, others had to be euthanized due to their injuries, and tens of thousands of acres of rich, healthy soil and plant life were incinerated.

Compiled by Candace Krebs.